Opinion: Wrapping Up 2018 Cotton
It’s Christmas time, but there is still cotton in the fields in parts of Texas. We had a wet fall that contributed to much of the farmers’ inability to properly harvest their white gold from the Brazos bottom all the way down to the coast. On top of that, lint grades under fifty cents don’t exactly spell out a profit. More harvestable parts of Texas brought a wider range of results. The good, the bad, and the ugly were all in full force, but regardless, we must look towards the coming year.
Every time we have a season like this, I like to think of this quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”
Real wealth, to me, isn’t making money (although that’s always a plus in this business). It’s making a real difference in this world that revolves around money, technology, and fame. It’s taking care and providing for your family. It’s knowing how much you’ve been blessed in this life, and it’s giving thanks for all that you do have. It’s rough. It’s tough. It’s real stuff.
Good morals are not innate. It takes hard times and hard work to develop these morals. You can water a cotton crop until it drowns, but the plant has to stress in order to put on the fruit. A farmer who doesn’t stress isn’t a farmer, but in the same way, a cotton crop that doesn’t stress isn’t a profitable crop. Hard times produce endurance and hope. Good morals are born from these qualities. You learn what it takes, and you give what you can. In the end, you will have grown, just like the cotton.
Finally — happiness! While a season like this may lead to more foot stomping than fist pumping, it’s not all bad. Remember that it takes strength to stomp your foot and get riled up about something. It takes even more strength to try again. Farmers are some of the strongest people I know. They take what they get every year and work just as hard, if not harder, to yield a better result the next year. Take humble pride in your work. No matter what role you play in agriculture, you are contributing to the overall health and welfare of so many. It takes a lot, but it gives even more. That, to me, is something to be happy about.
In the end, all we have is our faith— faith to get us through the season and faith to do it all again. Hold tight to that faith, and get ready for 2019. I predict real wealth, good morals, and happiness coming our way.